There’s an excellent article posted at Time this week, about the gathering momentum of the cannabis legalization movement. It’s been 75 years too long in coming, but it looks like we’re closer than ever before in getting our government to behave rationally on this subject. Too many still languish in jails or lose their livelihoods over these draconian laws based on ignorance, but change is in the wind. Please pressure your legislators – stare and federal, and help end this insanity.
Here’s a brief excerpt and a couple of the best comments posted with the Time article:
Recently, the action has shifted to recreational marijuana use. Washington’s referendum would treat pot much like alcohol, so the sale of marijuana would be restricted to people over 21. The new law would give the Liquor Control Board the authority to license marijuana farms, and marijuana tax revenues would be directed to health and drug-abuse prevention programs.
But other states’ proposed laws are more laissez-faire. Colorado would legalize marijuana so that, as its supporters put it, cannabis would be regulated like “grapes, tomatoes or other harmless botanical plants.” Montana’s amendment focuses on decriminalizing marijuana but leaves it to the legislature to work out the details.
Supporters argue that legalization is long overdue. They argue that it is no more harmful than alcohol or tobacco — and that in a free country people should be able to decide on their own whether to use it. They also argue that, as a practical matter, laws against marijuana have been no more successful than Prohibition was against alcohol — and that, similarly, it has given criminals a monopoly on distributing and selling it. Legalization, they say, would reduce the number of people in prison, and it would shift revenue from drug syndicates to government in the form of tax receipts.
Not surprisingly, the legalization drives have drawn heated opposition. Critics argue that marijuana is harmful and addictive — and that it is often a gateway drug, leading to cocaine or heroin. They say stoned drivers would be a menace on the roads. And they warn that if it were legalized and readily available, marijuana use could soar. (The University of Michigan’s “Monitoring the Future” survey reported that daily marijuana use is already at a 30-year high among high school seniors, even as alcohol use has been declining.) The anticamp also argues that marijuana is stronger than it was decades ago — from two to 10 times stronger, some experts say. (Other experts dispute the figures.)
If Washington or some other state legalizes marijuana, that would not settle the matter. It would still be a controlled substance under federal law. And the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause says that when federal and state laws clash, federal law trumps. As a practical matter, though, the federal government does not have the resources to police everyday use of marijuana. If states begin to legalize it, the federal government might be hard-pressed to justify diverting limited Drug Enforcement Agency resources away from heroin cartels toward small-time pot smokers.
It is hard to handicap this year’s voting, but one possibility is this: marijuana legalization could lose in Washington and Colorado in November, but recreational use could nonetheless be headed toward legalization in many states in the not-too-distant future.
Comment: “I don’t consume cannabis and I wouldn’t start even if my local supermarket started legally selling it to adults, but while I can feel good about my decisions to eat healthy, not smoke tobacco and not over indulge with alcohol, I CAN’T feel good about my “decision” to not consume cannabis because I didn’t make it – my federal nanny in Congress made it for me!
And worse than that, the federal government *didn’t* impose this law on me after reviewing the harm potential of cannabis and concluding that the maximum number of people could be protected from it by prohibition, instead the federal government simply decided that cannabis would be illegal and any discussion about this plant would start from the preconceived position that it should always be illegal. This is how our taxes are spent!”
Comment: “Jesus said to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us. None of us would want our child or grandchild thrown in jail with the sexual predators over marijuana. None of us would want to see an older family
member’s home confiscated and sold by the police for growing a couple of marijuana plants for their aches and pains. If the people who want to use marijuana could grow a few plants in their own back yards, it would be about as valuable as home-grown tomatoes; it would put the drug gangs out of business and get them out of our neighborhoods.